Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Spice of Life
I cannot express enough how taking painting workshops, notably from good friend Eric Jacobsen (see link for Eric under blog list), have helped to elevate my abilities as an artist. No matter your skill level i strongly urge people to take as many as you can, even if they are the same workshop. There is something about hearing what amounts to be the same thing, in repetition, that really helps drive the message home in one's thoughts.
During a workshop, there is a limited amount of time you have to actually complete a finished painting. Which is why they should be viewed as a time for intense study, not coming home with the next Gruppe to hang on your wall. Last weekend, i took another Still Life workshop from Eric and i was able to make some adjustments to my brushwork and blending of colors. Now, while I would not normally put forward what i would consider an unfinished piece, i really liked the freshness and warmth of this painting (probably all those lovely earth tones). I know there are some technical difficulties with it and i certainly was not finished, but the more i view it, the more i enjoy it and my hope is that you do as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pushing the Boundaries

Old World Mysteries 18 x 24 Today is a day to note some firsts...... This painting is the largest i have attempted, 18 x 24, and is my first time working on stretched canvas which i instantly fell in love with. Prior to this all of my works were on prepared panels. I began this painting last Sunday and worked on it for about 8 hours, monday night for a couple hours, and completed the finishing touches in about 4 hours today. My most recent paintings have taken much longer to complete than prior works, which is interesting. I used to have the mindset that i had to finish a painting in one sitting as to not lose the emotion that goes into it. As i learn and grow as an artist i am finding it easier to jump back in the seat and pick up where i left off which includes mixing the colors from scratch again; a scary proposition when trying to match existing colors - a few months ago i might not have been able to pull it off. The old urn, which is clearly the the center piece, was a great challenge. Vicki found it in an antique shop we vistited in downtown Vancouver last Saturday and she knew in an instant that i needed it as a substantial piece added to my growing collection of Tchotchkes. I have to agree with her, it really anchored this larger composition. So, look for me to continue painting on larger canvases, as i keep pushing the boundaries.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For the love of Gray.......

Quinault's Winter Gray
9x12 oil on panel Last weekend, Vicki and i went to our cabin on Lake Quinault where i was able to paint plein aire for the first time this year. I decided to paint a scene that i have done quite a few times before, right off our deck that overlooks the lake with views of the hillsides directly across. I think the reason i can repaint this scene over and over, without getting bored, is due to the ever-changing weather conditions in Quinault which offers a different view of the same subject all the time. For that very reason, it also makes the area a challenge to paint as the lighting and subjects can change in a flash. Lake Quinault, like many Pacific Northwest wonders, really strut their stuff in the summer, but there is trememdous beauty in this rain forest on the Olympic Penninsula even during the winter months. And since gray is a crucial part of any painting, i found this a good opportunity to really drive home the message and mystery of that ever elusive passion i know as..........Gray.